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Wet Drywall in Your Basement? We Have a Solution!

Tuesday, August 16th by Shannon Brelsford


Wet Basement Walls

Traditional drywall is, unfortunately very vulnerable to water damage, mold and mildew.

Finding wet drywall in the basement can feel a bit like a nightmare. Drywall, carpets, wood framing, and other organic materials can easily become ruined by moisture and can create a serious basement mold problem. Water and moisture issues can be costly to fix, and depending on the source, could involve quite the process to resolve.

If you’re worried that there may be water in your finished basement, there are a few signs to look out for concerning your drywall.

Causes of Water Damaged Drywall In The Basement

Water Seepage

Hydrostatic pressure occurs when the soil reaches it's absorption point and groundwater begins to push against your foundation walls.

The most persistent of all the elements, water can find its way into the home through a variety of ways.

  1. There’s natural groundwater seepage and hydrostatic pressure, during which water within the soil ends up forced against the foundation walls, seeping along the material until it finds a weakness, such as a settlement crack or an area that was not properly poured or bricked up and then uses the path of least resistance of enter the space. 

  2. There’s the possibility of poor landscape grading and inadequate drainage, or an issue with your gutters. If the soil around your home is not sloped properly, water from heavy rains and downspout runoff can accumulate around the base of the home. Eventually, that water will seep down through the soil and could end up seeping into the home through the extra pressure of the over-saturated earth.

  3. There could be a lack of proper insulation within the basement, leading to condensation forming on the walls, seeping into the drywall material and causing issues due to a sharp temperature difference between air moving through the space. 

Whatever the cause, a basement waterproofing contractor will be able to identify the source and help you break down the steps that should be taken to prevent such issues in the future. 

Signs Of Water Damaged Drywall In The Basement

Mold In The Basement

Mold spores take root and grow very quickly, spreading rapidly with moisture and organic material to feed on.

Some common signs of wet drywall include:

  • Musty odors in the basement, either throughout, or in a specific part of the space. The smell will most likely be strong and unpleasant, maybe smelling like decaying wood or plant matter.
  • Visible mold or mildew on the drywall itself. Not all mold looks the same, ranging from white to black to green and any color in between, but it is easy to see mold growing on the wall and recognize that it’s not meant to be there, even in small amounts, its texture will be different from the wall itself. Be cautious if you see mold growing on the basement drywall, however, as it could become toxic.
  • Visible bulging, sagging or crumbling drywall is another easy indicator that you have a wet basement problem. Drywall, while being a sturdy material, is highly susceptible to water absorption due to the materials used to make it. Constructed of two thick pieces of paper board and a filling of gypsum, drywall isn’t made to resist water. Instead, it absorbs moisture and can begin to swell.
  • Bubbling, cracking or peeling paint is a classic sign of water issues anywhere in the home, and it holds true for the basement as well. Water that absorbs into the drywall may then soak through the material completely, leaving it trapped beneath the layers of paint. Alternatively, this could lead to the paint cracking apart under the strain of being stretched--but either way, it’s a clear sign that not all is well in the finished basement.

The Dangers Of Wet Drywall In The Basement

There are many dangers associated with water in the basement, including but not limited to:

  • Mold & Mildew Growth: Mold, once it’s found organic material to feed on, can grow and spread throughout the home at an alarming rate.
  • Serious Or Even Fatal Health Issues: If left untreated, mold and mildew can cause serious health issues such as respiratory allergies, illnesses or asthma, and exacerbate existing conditions that you may already have.
  • Moisture Attracts Pests: Many household pests are attracted to moisture and rotting organic material--making wet drywall a tasty snack or excellent burrowing material. Insects such as termites, cockroaches, silverfish and earwigs are just a few of the common critters you may see.
  • Risk of Structural Damage: Damp or wet drywall in the basement could be an indication of already existing structural problems, with the water having found its way through a serious weak spot--or it could be a warning sign of early foundation issues. Until the material is pulled away and the foundation is evaluated by a professional, it may be hard to tell.
  • Risk to Electrical Systems & Appliances: It's common knowledge that electricity and water do not mix. Unfortunately, while basements can sometimes struggle to stay dry year round, they are also often where we keep our furnaces, water heaters, and more. Water issues in the basement can pose a threat to the systems that keep your home running throughout the year.

With all of this in mind, before going about trying to simply rip out and replace the damaged drywall, it’s imperative that the source of the moisture in the basement be found and dealt with.

An Alternative To Classic Drywall In Finished Basements

EverLast Wall Panels

EverLast Wall Panels are a beautiful alternative to classic drywall, with the added benefit of being totally waterproof!

Aside from a full fledged basement waterproofing system, one way to ensure that you won’t be plagued by water damaged drywall again is to switch to a non-organic drywall alternative.

With the EverLast Wall Restoration Panels, your basement walls themselves can offer protection against water, mold, mildew and pests that feast on natural materials. It also offers a stylish alternative to traditional drywall, meaning your basement will look and feel cleaner, drier, and more attractive.

EverLast is intended to replace the bottom portion of drywall - the part that inevitably gets soaked in a basement flood. Your technician will simply cut out the wet existing drywall and install the EverLast Wall Restoration Panels. With a quick and easy installation process, EverLast Wall Panels can give you a stylish, healthy basement and the peace of mind to go about your life.

These drywall restoration panels also work alongside other basement waterproofing and basement finishing products, such as floor drains, waterproof flooring, and more to keep your basement safe, dry, and appealing to the eye. EverLast features a chair rail and base molding that seamlessly blends into a finished basement, complementing any aesthetic.

If you're concerned about water ruining the walls in your basement, or if you're looking for a way to totally transform your basement environment, your local Total Basement Finishing company can help. Find your local dealer and schedule a free estimate today!

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